That conflict was resolved in 1999, when he sequestered himself for several months to write over two dozen songs detailing a number of personal crises that were consuming him at the time. The result of that descent into the pit is Cantrell's uncompromising and harrowing new album. When Cantrell revels in his AIC heritage ("Psychotic Break," "Hellbound," "Anger Rising"), the results are as blistering and effective as any of the band's most glorious outbursts. When he departs from his pummeling sonic attack, Cantrell shows an intimacy and delicacy that is electrifying in its counterpoint. With Layne Staley's death, the question of Alice in Chains' future is inexorably silenced, but Degradation Trip shows that Jerry Cantrell had already moved on before that tragedy finalized it.